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Student Reflection: 2015 Finance Career Forum

Alumni, students, and administrators gather for a Breakfast, panel sessions and lunch at Cabot Intercultural Center for the 2015 Finance Career Forum on September 26, 2015.

As the son of a psychiatrist, I never imagined aspiring towards a career in finance. For as long as I can remember, I pictured myself in a hospital—sporting a white lab coat—either checking in on patients or performing some sort of surgery. However, as I began my college career, I began to question my unshaken desire to be on the premedical path and I began to imagine myself in finance.

As a resident of Cambridge, Massachusetts, professionals in financial services are rare. Therefore, it is exceptionally difficult to obtain any personalized information of the industry—the lifestyle, the path one takes to get there, or the abundance of different types of careers one might have. This past September at the Tufts Finance Career Forum, I was offered a great opportunity to learn and gain a greater understanding around these core questions. Alumni shared incredible stories, both of success and bad fortune, painting a vivid picture of the breadth of opportunities and providing advice on how to begin seeking a first job in finance.

The interactions between the alumni and students were amazing. As one student, Jack Friend, A18, commented, “The Finance Career Forum comes to show how much rapid progress Tufts is making in regards to educating students about finance and providing them with an expansive network of alums in the finance world. As a history major, I have always been nervous that my lack of a background in economics as an undergraduate would hinder my pursuit of a career in finance. The alumni I met at the forum, however, reassured me that my interests and studies in history could actually be beneficial when interviewing for finance-related jobs.”

This enthusiastic response exhibits one of the most important elements of the Finance Career Forum—students can interact with people who have been in their shoes, who are able to make the finance industry appear less daunting and impossibly hard to break into, and more of a tangible career goal. Often students, like Jack, simply need someone to guide them and assure them that what they are doing, such as majoring in history instead of economics, is completely fine; the Finance Career Forum is a unique event where this is possible.

For other students, this event was their first exposure to the Tufts financial community and to the Tufts Financial Network. For freshmen, it was an important introductory event as they may be thinking about a future major in economics. For transfer students, it was an opportunity for them to see what support Tufts has to offer for students interested in finance. For both sets of new students, it’s an incredible way to become embedded within the finance community. As one sophomore transfer, Nik Nugnes, A18, said, “It was great to be exposed to alumni who want to be used as a resource for Tufts students and to know that I have joined a network of students, staff, and alumni that is interested in my achievements. Coming from a school that did not have personalized events like this, I especially saw the remarkable worth of this event.”

Ultimately, the Finance Career Forum is helpful to everyone who attends, but in different ways. Students understand that there is no “right” answer as to how to get a job in the financial world, and having alumni come back to share their wisdom and experiences is extremely powerful and comforting. Most importantly, the Finance Career Forum enables students and alumni who share similar interests, to come together and feel part of something larger than themselves—a finance community at Tufts.

Jeremy Sternbach, A18